Is it safe to borrow money online?

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A few years ago, people in need of a cash injection had to fatigue themselves to a physical branch of a loan institution or a bank. Today, a client in financial need can raise funds much faster and more conveniently - by borrowing online. The question is, is lending money over the Internet completely safe? What rules should be followed in order for it to turn out to be such?

Loans via the Internet are currently offered by several dozen non-banking companies, which allow for quick and easy borrowing from several dozen to several thousand zlotys or even several thousand zlotys. Quick and easy, because all the formalities and procedures occurring here, not only are limited to the necessary minimum, but also do not require the customer to leave the house. The entire borrowing process, i.e. the submission of an application, the lender's decision, the availability of the final terms of the loan, or even the transfer of funds itself, is carried out exclusively by electronic means. Interestingly, it is, among other things, the simple course of the entire transaction that makes some customers have doubts about the security associated with it. In addition, they are also afraid that they will fall victim to an unfair lending company or that they will be dragged on a product containing many hidden costs.

Internet is an ordinary communication channel

However, most of the concerns of potential customers are unfounded - or at least not those based on the belief that the Internet is the source of risks. In practice, the Internet is simply one of the channels of communication, which, compared to the others, simply brings a much greater wealth of possibilities. The network is widely used by individuals, companies and institutions for which it is a convenient way of offering services.

The remote communication channel on which the online lending companies are based does not in itself generate much risk. The whole transaction will be safe if the customer takes care to check the institution with which he or she intends to sign a loan agreement and carefully read the terms and conditions under which it is made available. The following are the most important issues that need to be considered in order to ensure that the use of an online loan does not cause any additional problems.

Taking out an online loan - only in a reliable non-banking company

The activity of Internet non-banking companies is strictly regulated by law. Similarly to banks, SKOK-i and stationary loan institutions, they are obliged to, among other things, inform about the total, actual costs of loans, or make reports and documents required by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority available. Moreover, after the last update of the regulations, they can no longer freely determine e.g. the amount of penalty interest for possible delays in the repayment of the loan.

However, although the interests of clients of loan companies are currently well protected by legal regulations, it is essential to check its credibility before taking advantage of the offer of one of such entities. There are dozens, if not more, of such companies on the market, and unfortunately there are some that are not fair to borrowers. In practice, the verification of a non-banking company is not difficult - institutions such as the National Court Register, the Central Register of Business and Business Information, the Association of Polish Companies or the aforementioned Polish Financial Supervision Authority come to the aid. They maintain and provide databases to find out which loan companies are legal and trustworthy. It is good to supplement this information by getting acquainted with customers' opinions posted on financial portals and forums or in social media. Of course, it's also worth reviewing the online loan rankings that can be found on many websites - they are the best way to verify the profitability of an offer.

Typical course of transactions

In many non-banking companies, the process of taking out an online loan follows the scheme below:

§ creation of an account on the company's website - this option is not available in all companies, however, thanks to registration on the website, it is easy to control the process of granting and subsequent repayment of the loan;

§ choice of the amount and date of repayment of the liability;

§ Fill in the data form and submit an online application;

§ execution of a transfer for 1 gr, 10 gr or 1 zł, which allows to verify the identity of the customer.

In order to avoid any subsequent problems and misunderstandings, the customer should make sure that the data entered by the customer is correct and that the lender's offer is not accompanied by any consent for additional paid services. It should also pay attention to the amount of the verification transfer - if it is clearly higher than the mentioned values, the company is probably not honest and is only trying to extort money.

Security on the loan company's website

Before the customer fills in any forms on the loan company's website, he should make sure that it is encrypted. This is indicated by the green area with the website address or the green padlock symbol. An encrypted website guarantees that no personal data will fall into the wrong hands.

Loan company and GIODO

Personal data of the clients of the loan company are protected by GIODO, i.e. the Inspector General for Personal Data Protection - but of course only on condition that it has notified this institution of its data collections. The potential borrower should therefore verify whether the e-GIODO search engine contains an application from a company of interest to the borrower. Such an entry is a guarantee that the data is processed in accordance with the law and that the company has fulfilled all the obligations imposed by the law.

What else you should know before you take out an online loan?

In practice, the disappointment of borrowers and their possible disputes with lenders are usually due to failure to read or inaccurate reading of the loan agreement and its annexes. Although it is a fact that some companies construct contracts that are not transparent (by the way, provisions that raise serious doubts should make them give up a given offer), the majority of non-banking institutions are honest with their clients and have a transparent offer.

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